French Open Letter to the Future President of the Republic

The 2017 French Presidential elections: doctors and patients call to continue the fight against pain

 Several representatives of doctors involved in the management of pain and patients call the next President of the Republic to "open a new chapter in the fight against pain"

Professor Didier Bouhassira, President of the French Society for the Study and Treatment of Pain (SFETD) and Serge Perrot, President of the College of Pain Teachers, and Martine Chauvin, President of the Francophone Association for the Elimination of Pain (AFVD) and Carole Robert, President of Fibromyalgia France, "invited the future President of the Republic to put in place concrete measures at the beginning of his mandate".

The aim is to "meet a certain number of needs". The authors of the forum detail eight:

1. Strengthen the role of the structures specialised in chronic pain management by developing their accessibility throughout the country and by strengthening the flexibility of their missions with the local healthcare practitioners.

2. Better prevention for chronic pain and its impact by introducing early screening and management of chronification factors, as well as work based prevention plans.

3. Sensitise healthcare professionals to post-operative chronic pain so that they are able to detect patients who are liable to develop it and offer long term support.

4. Strengthen the training of health professionals in the management of pain and suffering, with emphasis on the necessary co-ordination of care.

5. Guarantee the management of pain when the patient is hospitalised at home.

6. To involve patients and their representatives more closely in the evaluation of new therapies for pain and suffering. Also to promote access to diversified therapeutic options that can be used to respond as closely as possible to the patient's need.

7. Improve the relief of acute pain when patients arrive in the emergency room.

8. Develop pain assessment tools for patients who have communication difficulties (infants, people with psychiatric disorders, disabled people etc.).

"An ethical and humanistic ambition, fighting pain is one of the foundations of medicine and care," say the authors of the letter.

They recall that "France has long been a pioneer in the improvement of pain management", with the law of 4 March 2002, which placed pain relief as a fundamental right of the patient and the progressive structuring of a policy to fight pain around three successive national plans "today allowing the follow-up of nearly 300,000 pain patients.”

In 2012, in continuity with the previous pain plans, "the public authorities are committed to put in place a 'program of action against pain' ". But "this program of action has never seen the light of day," regret the signatories. Doctors and patients call the next President of the Republic because it remains "so long [...] still to be covered!"

"More than 60% of patients admitted to the emergency department have moderate to severe pain and less than one in two receives an analgesic treatment at admission. Nearly 20% of operated patients have painful after affects from surgery." "Acute pain, often too lightly or poorly managed, is the bed of chronic pain ... which should finally be recognised as a disease in its own right," the signatories said.

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